Martinique entered a strict local lockdown for three weeks beginning late Monday as government officials address an outbreak on the French Caribbean nation. Non-essential shops and beaches were slated to close and citizens’ movements were restricted, said officials quoted in local press reports. Authorities have advised tourists to leave the island as part of the closures.
“All vulnerable tourists” were advised to leave Martinique by Stanislas Cazelles, the territory’s prefect. Cazelles said Martinique hotels will be closed “except to professionals and residents of the territory,” with closures also extending to some seasonal rentals. Food shops and pharmacies will remain open, he said.
Cultural and leisure facilities will also close, with beaches “no longer be accessible to the public,” said Cazelles. He asked for private businesses to enable employees to work remotely and said most stores and other commercial operations will reopen “when the health situation has improved.”
French Health Minister Olivier Véran recently asked doctors and nurses to volunteer to travel to Martinique and sister French Caribbean destination Guadeloupe as the two islands confront a “wave” of COVID-19 infections.
Martinique is reporting nearly 1,200 COVID cases per 100,000 people with hospitals operating at 227 percent of capacity, according to press reports, which add only 22 percent of Martinique’s population has received a first vaccine dose. The island has approximately 375,053 residents.
Martinique re-opened its borders to U.S. visitors in mid-June of this year, nearly a year after several other Caribbean destinations. To enter the country, U.S. visitors had been required to provide proof of a negative PCR test result less than 72 hours before departure or of a negative antigen test result fewer than 48 hours prior to travel. Quarantine requirements were recently waived for vaccinated visitors.